Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo bristled when a question about the trade which sent both Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers at last July 30th’s deadline was framed as the club moving on from Turner six and a half seasons after they’d acquired him in a three-team deal with San Diego and Tampa Bay.
Turner had a year-plus of team control left when he was dealt, and it ended up being a big factor in the package the Nationals were able to get in return (which included Josiah Gray, Keibert Ruiz, pitcher Gerardo Carrillo, and outfielder Donovan Casey).
“We didn’t move on from Trea,” Rizzo clarified, noting that the initial deal for Turner in 2015 was, “... one of the greatest trades I ever made in my career. He was a beloved player in the clubhouse, I loved him myself, we maximized Trea’s value because of where we’re at as a franchise, and Trea Turner with two playoff runs in him and one and a half years is way more valuable than a Trea Turner that’s got one more year before free agency. So that was the biggest reason that went into the decision-making process.
Forever a part of the greatest moments in our franchise’s history.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 23, 2022
Welcome back World Series Champion Trea Turner and World Series Champion Daniel Hudson.@treavturner // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/azOYtueBvZ
“The Dodgers specifically were very intrigued by a Trea — having him for more than a rental player, and I think you saw the prospect package, we benefitted from the prospect package because of the length of the contract that he had left.”
“When we traded all those guys,” manager Davey Martinez said, before Turner returned to the nation’s capital for the first time since the deal last night, “we made an organizational decision that we were going to get super young, and we were going to transition to something different, and like I said, it’s part of the game. A lot of teams do it, and we got some good players in return. It’s always tough, initially, when it happens, because I build these relationships with these guys and these guys were a part of something huge that happened here.”
What happened here, of course, is the 2019 World Series win Turner played a big role in. He put up a .298/.353/.497 line with 37 doubles, five triples, and 19 home runs in 122 games in the regular season that year, (playing with a crooked, painful finger he broke in mid-April but returned from), then he went 17 for 73 (.233/.291/.329) with four doubles and a home run in his third postseason run with the club, which ended with the first World Series title for a D.C.-based team since 1924.
“We did what we set out to do,” Turner said of the 2019 run, “... but baseball is a hard game, so you just got to cherish each and every day, enjoy each and every win and try to enjoy the losses as much as you can, but it’s hard to do. But I think we did a lot over here, we accomplished a lot over here, and times are changing, but that stuff will never be forgotten.”
“Obviously,” Martinez said when asked about reuniting with Turner and former Nats’ closer Daniel Hudson, both of whom are with the Dodgers now.
“You miss those guys because you build relationships with them all the time, but this game moves on, and there’s always transactions in this game. I always focus on the 26 players that are on the roster right now, and making them better, and that’s what you can do, but when you do get a chance to see these guys that actually played here and played for me, it’s always good to see them, it’s always good to have conversations with them, but we welcome the next group that comes, you know, right? That’s what this is all about. You wish you could keep some guys for many, many years, sometimes it doesn’t happen, but with that being said, you get other guys that can help us win games, and we did that with Keibert and Josiah, both, they’ve both playing really well for us right now and the future is bright for both of them.”
Turner said the thing he remembers from the 2019 season was all the fun the club had with one another as they defied the odds after a 19-31 start, earned a Wild Card spot, won, and kept on winning all the way till the end.
“I think just that second half of the season, from the 19-31 to basically the party we had after every single win,” Turner said when asked what he remembers, “and then we just continued that through the postseason — and that locker room was electric. Gerardo Parra, and [Brian] Dozier, and Max [Scherzer], and just so many people were so funny and it was great to be a part of that, but I just think the amount of fun we had, it was special.”